Napoli's Dries Mertens ruled out for at least three weeks

Mertens will sit out at least four Serie A matches against Lazio, Torino, Cagliari and Spezia while he recovers from the ankle injury he suffered on Wednesday.

The forward, who is Napoli's all-time top scorer, has five goals in 17 appearances in all competitions this season.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Napoli forward Dries Mertens will be out for at least three weeks with an ankle injury suffered during Wednesday's 1-0 defeat at Inter Milan, the club said on Thursday.

The 33-year-old Belgium international was forced off in tears during the first half of the Serie A match at San Siro.

Diagnostic tests have shown a first/second degree sprain to the left ankle, read a club statement.

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His condition will be re-evaluated in three weeks. Mertens has already started his rehabilitation, which will take place in Belgium over the festive period.

Mertens will sit out at least four Serie A matches against Lazio, Torino, Cagliari and Spezia while he recovers.

The forward, who is Napoli's all-time top scorer, has five goals in 17 appearances in all competitions this season.

Napli is fourth in the Serie A standings, five points behind leader AC Milan after 12 games.